SAP, whose name translates to “Systems, Applications & Products in Data Processing” is a European multinational software vendor that produces business management software primarily for enterprises. It was founded in 1970 by five IBM engineers whose project, based on Xerox-owned software when IBM assisted the former in exiting the computer industry, was deemed no longer necessary; rather than abandon the project, the engineers left IBM to start their own company. Their company was called (in translation) “System Analysis and Program Development”; in 1973, they launched their first commercial product - the SAP R/98. Over the years, the company’s legal name changed; in 1988, SAP AG went public. Since then, it has made numerous acquisitions to strengthen its position as a leading vendor of on-premises and cloud-based enterprise software. In 2014, IBM and SAP partnered to provide cloud-based services, with IBM providing infrastructure and SAP running its HANA cloud solution on top. SAP has over 335,000 customers in 190 countries. Its current CEO is Bill McDermott.
Intended Customers Midsize to Large Businesses, Enterprises
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All Available Plans & Services SAP, like other industry veterans, was known for its on-premise installation of CRM software. As the industry has shifted toward cloud-based subscriptions, SAP has begun offering enterprise and small business on-demand services extendable through its cloud platform, SAP HANA. Pricing for SAP’s enterprise solutions for sales, marketing and service automation is offered upon contact with a company representative. It is tailored towards a company’s industry, size and technical needs. SAP offers a more accessible small business platform known as SAP Digital CRM, an all-in-one sales, marketing and service customer engagement platform. It costs $23 per user/month for a recommended 3 months. It offers a 30-day free trial. Its website can be found here.
SAP was late to the software-as-a-service CRM game. It remains mostly known for its on-demand services, and by that measure it is widely regarded as stable, customizable and easily integrated into other SAP business products but not very user friendly. That aside, ease of integration into other SAP products is a major boon for large enterprises, as the SAP business suite has a scope rarely matched by business applications. Obtaining a general sense of user satisfaction for an SAP CRM is a challenge; companies in one industry might have different expectations of their platforms than other industries. On the other hand, SAP’s longevity in the business application space, CRM included, is at least some testament to the ability of its software suite to achieve desired results. As for its on-demand CRM solution, SAP - despite its decades of experience - is somewhat of a newcomer. While essential CRM functions are present - sales, marketing and service automation - reviews tend to focus on a less-than-ideal user interface and a lack of depth compared to mature on-demand CRM platforms. It’s not clear how much SAP is committed to the SaaS model - on-demand services have taken market share and revenue away from on-premise installations, a trend that’s likely to continue, so SAP’s on-demand CRM is seen as much as a defensive move as a standalone product. SAP’s on-demand CRM doesn’t provide an offline or wireless version and its page-to-page performance draws criticism. It also doesn’t provide the flexibility for salespeople to use the software in a manner that suits their productivity. As the best CRMs will complement a workflow, rather than impose one, this criticism carries weight in the CRM space. SAP will undoubtedly refine their on-demand CRM product; in the meantime, there remains considerable ground for it to make up.